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The Contextual Effects of Political Trust on Happiness: Evidence from China

Xiwen Fu ()
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Xiwen Fu: Kobe University

Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2018, vol. 139, issue 2, No 5, 516 pages

Abstract: Abstract Political trust is often considered as legitimacy enhancing, but whether political trust is well-being enhancing is still underexplored. Using micro data from the East Asian Social Survey 2012, this study investigates the association between province-level/aggregate political trust and individual happiness in China, and explores the role of economic development in influencing individual political trust after the period of rapid growth in 1990–2010. Results show a positive and significant contextual effect of political trust on individual happiness in China, with the endogeneity problem addressed by an instrument variables method. Currently in China, it is a higher provincial rate of GDP growth rather than GDP per capita that predicts a higher level of political trust. Economic growth still significantly reinforces the level of individual political trust and even helps to raise individual political trust among economically disadvantaged populations. The “critical citizens” phenomenon has not yet grown into a nationwide trend. Since the positive contextual effect of political trust on individual subjective well-being, policy makers are encouraged to maintain the stock of political trust through good governance.

Keywords: Political trust; Happiness; Subjective well-being; Economic development; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s11205-017-1721-2

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